Newbie trying to be a WordPress developer has some questions.

Hey there, I’ve been learning and practicing some php and css with hopes of being able to become a WordPress web developer and sell my service. Now I fully understand I’m still a complete rookie, so excuse me if some of my questions are naive or obvious.

So I understand the work I’m doing is the front end work in terms of creating themes/ designs a site. But for a back-end web developer what type of things do you do? I mean connecting your code to plugins sound logical. Something like woocommerce if you’re developing an e-commerce store. Or am I completely wrong and it’s normal for WordPress developers to develop their own woocommerce replacements?

If you do code connections to your site to plugins, what other plugins are useful to keep in mind to make compatible? Like are there some plugins which you would want compatible for almost any site you might make? Such as yoast SEO or any other similar plug-in or mail poet/ similar.

Also, (I know I’m far off this) but how do you monetarily value your work. Do you charge a one off fee for the site and offer a monthly subscription for running the site? If so what other things do you provide in that monthly subscription?

Thanks for anyone answering my questions, I know I could ask google about this. But I would prefer a response from someone with experience rather than a random page. Thanks.

  1. There’s a fundamental misunderstanding here.

    Plugins can effect both front end and back end. No we’re not deving our own woocommerce replacements, but we do commonly extend woocomm both on the front and back end. Are you looking to be full stack or front or back end?

    We don’t connect plugins to our code. We use our code to enhance/extend and utilize plugin functionality, or replace the need for plugins or use plugins to enhance/extend or be utilized in our code.

    Theme development can be both front and back end.

  2. Hi, Im the wordpress team lead of a pretty big company, we use wordpress for our main website (a pretty big one with lots of pages) so I will try to explain how things work in a big wp project with several people involved, maybe this will help you understand things better 🙂

    I will start with the plugins as that was one of your questions. We try to use the least possible amount of third party plugins and make our own solutions for everything we can, this is because the more third party plugins your site relies on, the higher are the chances of the site breaking because of some update. Also a lot of plugins are unoptimized, have lots of features you dont even need, and might end up slowing your website. However there is some necessary plugins that work very well and are implemented in all of our sites, those would be Classic editor, ACF pro, WP Rocket and Yoast seo.

    -Classic editor is a must if you are not planning on using the block editor, which, if you are making your own templates (will get into this later) you will not use.

    -ACF is in my opinion the best plugin in the world, It basically lets you create custom fields for any post type / page.

    -WP Rocket generates static files of your pages, which means that when a visitor comes to your site and the page is cached, no php code will be executed, which means faster load and less server cpu usage.

    -I dont know much about seo but i know yoast is a must for the marketing team 😂.

    Now, when it comes to the development, we have a theme made from scratch, it has basic files like header and footer, and then we use php templates for every page. Each page is different so every page has its own template, ofc there are some common elements like buttons / banners that we also create a template for and then reuse them in our page templates to avoid code duplicity.

    For the styles, please, use sass instead of plain css, if you use sass, you can break down your css into smaller scss files, use variables, mixins, and a million things more, and with a little php work you can make each page to just load the styles that are needed, instead of one big 20k lines single css file that will load on every page.

    We try to keep all functionality inside of the theme, there are some exceptions, but for most stuff you dont need to make a plugin, just create a php file and include it inside your functions.php.

    As for the development process, we have two git repos, one is for the docker project and another is for the theme. We use docker for local development so you would basically just pull the repo, build the image, run docker compose and you would have the project running locally in almost no time.

    As for the theme, we have development and production environments, which means we always push changes to development first, and then merge to production if everything is okay.

    I could go much more into details but I feel this is long enought already haha, if you would wish to know more, feel free to message, I will be glad to help 🙂


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